After Dark …a review

What Murakami never fails to do is to fill me with amazement. There is not a single thread in this book that was tied, not a single question was answered, not a single mystery solved. And yet, I was satiated. I was happy and content at the loose ends, satisfied with the unknown and the unanswered, at peace. Another one of those themed books, this time, the chapters are named as per time. It is the story of a single night when a young girl Mari takes a break from home and wanders about a city. She meets a boy, oh yes. But then, she also meets a hooker, a ‘love hotel’ owner, and of course, cats.

Her older sister sleeps a deep sleep, she has been asleep for the last two months. Nothing has aroused her. But as night creeps in, as the wind faintly disturbs the curtains, is there a sound? Is a portal to another world opening? Is there someone there? Chapters progress as time goes on and the night gets bitter. What eerie business is going on?

Quote: “You know what I think?” she says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ’em to the fire, they’re all just paper.”

“Unimpeded by other schemes, this hint of things to come takes time to expand in the new morning light, and we attempt to watch it unobtrusively, with deep concentration. The night has begun to open up at last. There will be time until the next darkness arrives.”

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